Film Review: “Scream VI”


Screengrab from: "Scream VI"

Directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin return to spearhead the sixth installment of the “Scream” franchise. This installment features four survivors of the Ghost- face murders who find themselves facing off against a new killer. The horror flick released in theaters on March 10, 2023.

Cassandra Bauer, Film Reviewer

Ghostface is back bringing big bucks at the box office but isn’t slashing like he once did.

No longer in the constraints of small-town Woodsboro the newly dubbed core four Mindy (Jasmin Savory Brown), Chad (Mason Gooding), Sam (Melissa Barrera), and Tara (Jenna Ortega) take on the big apple where they’ve been followed by the legacy of this masked killer.

Following Scream tradition, we start off immediately with some serious slashing, drawing us back into this murderous world and adding to the film’s overall kill count. This opening bloodbath reminds us of the reason we keep coming back to these movies, and a few set pieces thereafter remain stand outs of the series. The scenes in the bodega and on the subway, both alluded to in the trailer, help show off the New York location and what genuine thrills look like in the big city.

Hollywood’s latest scream queen and Gen Z’s it girl Jenna Ortega is a clear stand out star. Gaining popularity in last year’s “Scream” then launching into rapid success with the hit series “Wednesday”, Ortega is likely now one of the most famous actresses under 25 working today.

The other members of the cast are clearly in support of her but still get their own notable moments. Jasmin Savory Brown gets to break down the rules of a horror movie once again, which is now quintessential in these films. A few old school stars return, including Courtney Cox and Kirby Reed, but the absence of Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott is felt deeply.

“Scream VI” is a reboot and a sequel rolled into one (or a requel as Mindy calls it) and you get the negative effects of both. The reboot tries to capture the spark its original had by dragging back legacy characters with worse acting only for fans to point and go “hey I remember them.” Then it suffers from the pitfalls of a sequel that desperately tries to one-up its predecessor. The film never fails to remind you of this either, favoring meta-commentary over originality. But I suppose that is part of the fun of the Scream franchise.

Scream movies have been deemed meta-slasher whodunits that very clearly understand the conventions of the genre they are a part of and blatantly reference them in the film. These movies will subvert some tropes and mock others while maintaining the classic slasher formula. The first “Scream,” now almost 30 years old, was cutting-edge for its playful understanding of the horror genre and willingness to be overly self-aware but the same schtick gets old after six movies. 2023’s Scream resorts to being meta about being meta and the cool factor is gone.

Within this, there is still a lot to enjoy for over-the-top film fans. The film is packed with nods, direct references to other horror movies, and other mini moments movie nerds would enjoy. This letterboxd user did certainly appreciate the shoutout of my favorite app. Of course, there is the classic scene where our characters explain the rules of a horror movie once again, only this film doesn’t stick to its own rules. Whether this is a refreshing change of pace or a rash deviation from tradition, I’ll let you determine that for yourself.

With hip new leads and attempts at edgy self-awareness perhaps at the very least “Scream VI” can introduce the new generation to the genius of the original.

Watch “Scream VI” in theaters now.